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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dos Vientos - Open & Closed Theft

Ever have that feeling when you wake in the morning that something just isn't right? Everything seems normal and nothing is visibly out of place, but you just feel it. That is how I felt woke up today -- or at least how I feel now.

We slept in a little later than we normally do -- until 7:30am -- which was odd in itself. Then it was time to take the dog outside and give him his breakfast. I walked down the stairs, turned off the alarm and then opened up the door to the garage. I was immediately stunned by the brightness of the light inside and grabbed the dog's collar as I realized what it was.

Dos Vientos neighborhood garage left openA look at the opened garage when I woke up this morning.

On Friday night we left the garage door open all night. Not a first for us, but I was surprised still the same. Fortunately, we live in a city that is considered the safest in the nation (consistently Thousand Oaks competes with Simi Valley for the designation) and our neighborhood of Dos Vientos tends to even be safer. On the previous few occasions where this occurred -- they went without incident.

I looked around the garage and nothing looked out of place -- thank goodness it was a mess. I shut the garage door, let the dog out and gave him some food. As I walked back though the garage, I noticed that both of the car doors were not completely closed -- left cracked open. Uh-oh.

How both car doors appeared when I came out into the garage this morning when I noticed them.

Clearly someone had come into the garage and been in both vehicles. My mind raced as I realized that both laptops that Ashley and I have were in the trunk of my car. What else did we leave in the car, was anything missing?

I walked to the back of my car and lifted the lid of the trunk. What a relief, the two laptop backpack bags were still in my trunk untouched. Then it was time to look inside the cars.

What I first noticed was that on sides of both cars is that whoever had been in both vehicles had somewhat greasy hands because there were visible finger prints with ridge detail (like my CSI knowledge?) visible on the door of both my Black Audi A4 and Ashley's silver Lexus. Careful not disturb them, I looked inside my car.

I scanned my car and nothing seemed to be missing. My Bluetooth headset, the car adapters for my Blackberry and AC converters were as well. Good news.

Then I looked in Ashley's car. Immediately I noticed that a $2 Insten iPod car charger was missing. Annoying, but no big deal. Then we realized a little later that were also missing our Canon Powershot SD800 IS from the center console. That sucks.

I then went through the rest of the garage and nothing aside from the cars was touched. All the tools -- everything still there. Thank goodness it is an awful mess right now.

We called out the local Sheriff Deputies to grab the prints off (we had heard about another break-in or two over the past couple of weeks) to see if any of this was tied together. The officer came out and in CSI fashion dusted the cars and lifted a few good prints -- none of which were Ashley's or mine. :-)

While we have little hope that the camera will get recovered, I am pretty happy with the minimum loss. It had been a fairly common occurrence for me to leave my wallet or phone in the car overnight. The thief could have open the door to our house (and received a squealing siren blast in their ears or worse. And if the thief is caught doing anything else, at least this will be another strike against them.

Most likely the thief was looking for a quick hit without causing too much noise or a disturbance. When they found the camera they called it successful and made off with it.

And while it stinks to lose a camera, I was not all that happy with the SD800 IS. While I have been a devoted consumer of Canon photo equipment -- I had found the SD800 IS to be wanting. Image quality despite the presence of the image stabilization was mediocre at best. After doing some additional reading -- it appears to be a knock on it due to the wider angle lens it has that consistently causes softness in the images. Now I have to wade through the plethora of PowerShot offerings to pick something up before we head out to Italy in just 2 weeks.

Fun stuff. Still, as mentioned above -- I'm counting my lucky stars as the outcome of our theft could have been much worse. I guess we will make sure to close that garage door from now on. I may also consider testing out some new WiFi security / monitoring equipment as well.


Don said...

Sorry to hear of your camera loss. Have you been able to replace it yet?

I hope you didn't loose any important pictures.

Ken Hanscom said...

Hi Don.

Although I lost the camera, I was fortunate not to loose much more. Still thinking about what camera I should get. Time is running out as I leave for Italy in just 10 days!

Also lucky that there were only a couple of pictures on there.